Austin Tech Happy Hour Dec 4th

When you feel the chill in the air, you know the end of the year is approaching. We are kicking off the holiday party season with our December 4th happy hour at The Dogwood. Come celebrate a fantastic year for the Austin technology community with a frosty beverage and some great networking.

There are a limited number of free tickets available, then a bigger batch of early bird specials, and finally a pre-registration discount. If you miss all of those, you can pay the full price of $10 at the door. This event is at a bar, so you must be 21+ to get in. Every person that
attends will receive two drink tickets.

Sponsor

Phoenix Staff is an IT recruiting firm that staffs key roles in companies ranging from the help desk to a CTO/CIO – being high touch, low volume affords us the opportunity to truly manage that wide range.  The core of people we place fall into the category of “senior” in their chosen profession – again this is achieved by our high touch, low volume approach.  They are the best in their chosen area of expertise and when they aren’t actively looking, they are ready with a referral. What exactly does high touch mean? Simply put, we are the company that follows-up.

With venues like the CIO breakfast, our alignment in education and our ability to connect with the folks who people consider the “center of the Oracle universe or .NET universe or Linux universe” we are able to connect and, more importantly for you, get connected, quickly to those people who are looking. That allows us to be very specific in our attention for our clients and candidates.  Instead of providing a client with 15 resumes to review, we are able to spend the necessary time with the people behind the resume
to determine the best fit. Given the chance to prove that this is how
we operate, we very quickly become the exclusive providers to our
clients.

Austin Tech Happy Hour Dec 4th

Eagle Eye Networks Cloud Security Camera Mapping Takes Video Surveillance to New Level

Eagle Eye Networks LogoEagle Eye Networks, Inc. today announced the immediate availability of interactive cloud security camera mapping as part of the Eagle Eye Cloud Security Camera Video Management System (VMS). The new global mapping offers users the ability to view or record video directly from a map or physical layout.

In other news today, Eagle Eye also announced that expansion of its mobile apps to include comprehensive installation functionally.

Eagle Eye Networks’ cloud security camera mapping key features are:

  • Robust geographic maps which also allow users to create and insert custom floor plans.
  • Drag and drop cameras on the map to specify camera location and orientation.
  • Flexibility to zoom in or out, and navigate to different locations.
  • Online/functioning cameras are shown in green on the map; offline cameras are shown in red.
  • Clicking on any camera provides live or recorded video and camera details.
  • Precise GPS location for cameras and Eagle Eye bridges can automatically be captured using Eagle Eye mobile app.

“Interactive camera mapping gives single and multi-location companies a detailed view of their surveillance system, as well as individual camera location,” said Dean Drako, President and CEO of Eagle Eye Networks. “The mapping functionality is also extremely useful for local law enforcement and security teams.”

Eagle Eye Networks Cloud Security Camera Mapping Takes Video Surveillance to New Level

80Legs Launches Major Update

80 Legs LogoDatafiniti, the first search engine for data, today announced a major platform update to 80legs, a service platform for web crawling and processing Web content. The relaunch makes 80legs simpler and easier to use, complete with a new back-end design that helps the platform crawl with increased power, speed, and reliability.

The updated 80legs service offers a number of new features that improve a company’s ability to gather and process data effectively and efficiently. 80legs can crawl an unlimited number of URLs a month to meet user demands and auto-scales crawls to eliminate delays in processing jobs. With the new architecture, crawling speed for any single website has increased 10x, which means customers could use 80legs to scrape the homepage of every .com domain in 6 days (113 million pages). The update comes after Datafiniti took over the product last year. Since then, the Datafiniti team has been working to improve the power and sale of the web crawling platform.

Since the 80legs update, Datafiniti has grown its 80legs customer base by over 30%. 80legs is currently used by companies such as Acxiom, HP, Integral Ads, and others for reviews management, competitive intelligence, social media monitoring, ad and pricing optimization, fraud detection, predictive modeling, and more.

MailChimp uses 80legs to capture email address on every website for spam prevention, and PayPal uses 80legs to identify fraudulent uses of their platform. In addition, Datafiniti has grown its team by 15% to support the increasing customer growth.

“It’s an exciting time for Datafiniti, and we’re proud with what we’ve accomplished with the 80legs relaunch,” said Shion Deysarkar, CEO, Datafiniti. “The new 80legs platform is more powerful and even more simple to use. We can give any company the ability quickly browse and index data from the entire Internet, as the 80legs grid model allows essentially unbounded web crawling with a few clicks.”

As the quantity of information available on the Web continues to grow, collecting and processing that information is an increasingly difficult and expensive task. 80legs powers companies from a wide variety of industries to leverage data to drive decision-making, improve customer experience, open up new revenue streams, gain a competitive edge, without the high price or infrastructure investment.

The new 80legs features include:

  • Redesigned back-end architecture growls the 80legs crawl grid from 50,000 to over 70,000 unique computers and virtually an unlimited number of crawls per month.
  • Improved speed and reliability. The maximum crawl speed grew from 1B URLs/month to 10B URLs/month.
  • Simple web interface and heavy customization available with JavaScript applications.
  • RESTful API that provides users with the information needed to interact with 80legs.
  • Automatic rate-limiting that prevents any website from traffic overload and web crawls from being blocked, resulting in a 100% reduction from websites being overwhelmed.
  • New user-agent for the 80legs crawl, from “008” to “voltron” — the new crawler gives users the chance to crawl websites previously inaccessible to the old crawler.

80legs offers free and paid service plans designed to fit the needs of companies of all sizes. For more information about pricing and features, and to contact the 80legs team, please visit http://www.80legs.com.

80Legs Launches Major Update

College Retention Partner Upswing Opens Headquarters in Austin after Graduating from Dallas Tech Accelerator

Higher education in Austin, and the surrounding areas, may see an increase in student retention rates and technology-facilitated learning, if recently migrated company Upswing has anything to say about it.

By partnering with colleges to get more students to stay in school through retention planning, 24/7 online academic support and tutoring, and data analytics, Upswing has seen a fast-paced growth that has landed them in Austin, TX. Founded in Durham, NC, Upswing joined a three-month program organized by Tech Wildcatters, a startup accelerator based in Dallas, TX. It didn’t take long for the Upswing team to realize the value of maintaining a Texas presence.

“We’ve had a considerable amount of success in North Carolina, partnering with five colleges for the 2014-15 school year,” explains co-founder and COO Alex Pritchett. “Since coming to Dallas in March, we’ve been able to connect with numerous colleges and education organizations and the amount of interest in Upswing has been tremendous. The opportunity here is exciting simply due to the volume of schools we can partner with and the number of students whose lives Upswing has the potential to impact.”

While the move to Texas brings about a variety of new opportunities, Upswing will continue to maintain a presence in North Carolina to support and grow its partnerships with existing and prospective colleges.

“Our company is focused on working directly with colleges to understand how to have the greatest effect on students. Maintaining a presence in North Carolina allows us to work hand-in-hand with many of the brightest innovators at each college,” says Pritchett, “and it’s motivating to hear these leaders talk about a common vision that is now possible because of Upswing.”

While the company is still in its early stages compared to education behemoths Pearson and Blackboard, Upswing believes that its personalized support and understanding of college needs will lead more colleges in Texas, North Carolina, and beyond to join Upswing on its mission to end attrition.

Colleges interested in learning more about Upswing can visit http://www.upswing.io, or contact Alex Pritchett at 844-TRY-UPSWING (844-879-8779) ext. 700 or alex@upswing.io for more information.

College Retention Partner Upswing Opens Headquarters in Austin after Graduating from Dallas Tech Accelerator

Global Survey Shows Austin Business Growth Outpacing Global Average

The Austin chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization today announced results from the latest Global Entrepreneur Indicator, showing that Austin business leaders have experienced strong growth — far outpacing the global average — and expect continued success going into the second half of 2014.

The biannual report surveys more than 9500 member entrepreneurs from around the globe, uncovering trends across a variety of performance-related metrics, including hiring, revenue growth and overall confidence in the business environment.

Highlights from the Austin survey, in comparison to global responses, include:

  • 84% of Austin entrepreneurs plan to make additional full-time hires in the next six months, compared to 67% globally.
  • 82% of Austin respondents have experienced an increase in revenue in the last six months, with 97% expecting continued revenue growth in the coming six months. Globally, 68% experienced recent revenue growth, and 83% expect future growth.
  • 93% of Austin business owners would consider starting another business, compared to 84% globally.

“The most recent Indicator survey results show that Austin continues to be prime real estate for those looking to start or grow their businesses ,” said Dustin Wells, EO Austin president and CEO of Headspring. “Austin business owners benefit from a variety of elements — access to talent, a strong culture of camaraderie within the community, and a wealth of resources and support networks that really set local entrepreneurs up for long-term success.”

Despite strong local growth, Austin entrepreneurs are less optimistic about the global economic environment. While 48% of global respondents expect improvement in the coming six months, only 39% of local business owners agreed.

The Global Entrepreneur Indicator is a bi-annual survey conducted by Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a network of more than 9,500 business owners across the globe. Survey respondents are founders of businesses with at least $1 million in annual revenue.

Global Survey Shows Austin Business Growth Outpacing Global Average

SXSW V2V Day 2: Community = Diversity

sxsw day 2-0After a big Monday night of music and managed mayhem, Day 2 of SXSW V2V was another full program packed with speakers, mentoring, and special events.

While Day 1 reminded one of the value of a smaller conference like V2V to complement (not replace!) a bigger conference like SXSW Interactive, Day 2 made clear another important reminder: the importance of diversity.  In the hyper-choice world in which we live, it is easier than ever to fashion our communities (physical and digital) in ways that eliminate diversity, intentionally or accidentally.

My experience during Day 2 of V2V was one clearly punctuated by a sense of the great value – the essential nature, really – in diversity of age, race, gender, nationality, economic status, and all of the many other forms of each person’s identity that we all carry.  If every V2V day could be hashtagged, then mine for Tuesday would be #Diversity, with nearly moment reinforcing it.

sxsw day 2-1In panel after panel, speaker after speaker, diversity was a repeated theme as a source of strength in founding teams or a flashpoint for innovative business concepts.  Here were just some of the highlights:

  • A great all-women panel on the impact of female angel investors on start-ups – a powerful observation by Natalia Noguera: far too often “people of color don’t have the option of a ‘friends and family’ round” which makes angel options and other non-traditional funding sources that much more important for supporting their entrepreneurship
  • Matt Faulk’s systems & stories presentation about how you take a guy whose significant other is his Lab and one who has a wife, kids, and a very involved, nuclear family life, and form a team to create an award-winning agency (BASIC) doing business with clients from the San Diego Chargers NFL team to the American PS4 launch
  • A terrific panel on “Leveraging Diversity” that was part of a Kauffman Foundation-sponsored track at V2V featuring speakers (3 of the 4 of whom were investors) including an African-American, a Latino, a lesbian, and a Kansan. I kid. Actually, the Kansan, Regan Carrizales, is a female graduate of the Naval Academy and spoke strongly about the importance of the Academy experience leaving her with a personal guideline of “never compromising your standards” when building a diverse team.
  • sxsw day 2-2Another great story from the same panel was from Angela Benton of the NewME Accelerator, who spoke about how one of their members developed the idea for his product – a service connecting inmates to the outside world — after being incarcerated for a felony, himself. He would have never known of the need for the service, for which he was able to create a working product, acquire customers, and raise $1 million in funding, if he hadn’t been imprisoned.

Coming at it from another angle, the importance of diversity of media was on display. On one end of the spectrum, I saw more guys walking around with Google Glass than I’ve yet seen anywhere else. On the other end, two different investors spoke about how they got jobs at their first start-ups by answering ads: one from a bulletin posting in a coffee shop and the other at a bookstore.

Even the downtimes yielded moments of diversity, like when one of the Soutby contract sound guys clued me into a fabulous Filipina jazz singer whose music he was playing while awaiting a panel, then invited me over to try out his $500 Grado headphones on my iPhone (gorgeous tone!).

sxsw day 2-3Some other gems picked up through the day included: the Zero Moment of Truth in Customer Experience (download the free eBook) from the ever-professional Brian Solis; the genuine enthusiasm by speakers from TechStars, Astia, and other investors about now having their flags planted in (and being part of) the Austin start-up scene; and, a couple of useful search sites for domain naming, Domai.nr and impossibility.org recommended during the “Reach Hacking” panel.

Ok, well I’m off to see a special screening of the movie Cheap Thrills, where the director, actors, and producers are all watching it and staying for a Q&A session afterwards.  Just another, final example of diversity… in this case, of the kinds of diverse, digital experiences that V2V is delivering. More to come.

SXSW V2V Day 2: Community = Diversity

ATC Sharpens Austin’s Pitch, Targets Life Sciences

Packaging a city’s value is a little different these days. It goes beyond regional battles and attempts to poach HQ’s from other metros. Cities compete globally, so in addition to quality of life, it’s important for local leaders to understand everything from national policy to industry trends and growth opportunities. And while Austin’s entrepreneurial diversity is one of its strengths, it can be tough getting to a sales deck everyone can agree on.

One of the organizations that’s helping refine that pitch is the Austin Technology Council, part nonprofit trade group and part think tank. With close to 300 member companies, ATC has a good pulse on what’s driving much of Austin’s tech sector. In a recent Forbes interview, ATC President Julie Huls highlighted some key points.

“Our 30-year software and semiconductor industry has proven to be a strong foundation for some of the newer-generation companies. E-commerce companies and software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies are growing rapidly in Austin. We’re starting to seek some growth within the life sciences area as well..”

The Life Sciences piece is something Huls’ team and a host of partners are pushing in the Central region. In June, data collected by ATC from more than 240 biotech companies showed a surprisingly mature industry cluster, with more than 60% of companies already generating revenue. Another key finding won’t surprise many of you. Funding was cited as the biggest challenge by 65% of the companies surveyed. The other one was finding the right people, with almost 40% identifying personnel and recruiting as a top priority.

Source: ATC Life Sciences | BioTech Survey
Source: ATC Life Sciences Survey:Biggest challenges

Tom Kowalski, president of Texas Healthcare and Bioscience Institute (THBI), summarized the Life Sciences initiative at a recent ATC event in Austin.

“What we’re trying to do in Texas is create an environment for research/development and manufacturing in life sciences. This is a critical juncture to ensure the availability of the funds, talent and facilities needed to invigorate the industry.”

TETF: Commercialization awards by industry cluster

Huls also mentions the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) in the Forbes piece, reminding us there’s $400 million or so that’s been allocated for investments in innovative technology projects and research. The interesting part is how much of those funds have been set aside for biotechnology. According to a recent Economist piece, as of January 2012, almost half the awarded projects went to Life Sciences companies, tallying more than $370 million.

Besides industry diversity, the innovation sparked by high-tech clusters like Life Sciences is increasingly tied to local job creation. That recent Samsung announcement could have an even bigger effect on the local economy if you buy the arguments in Enrico Moretti’s book, The New Geography of Jobs. Brookings’ Mark Muro points to an excerpt.

“With only a fraction of the jobs, the innovation sector generates a disproportionate number of additional local jobs and therefore profoundly shapes the local economy. A healthy traded sector benefits the local economy directly, as it generates well-paid jobs, and indirectly as it creates additional jobs in the non-traded sector. My research, based on an analysis of 11 million American workers in 320 metropolitan areas, shows that for each new high-tech job in a metropolitan area, five additional local jobs are created outside of high tech in the long run.”

[And] it gets even more interesting. These five jobs benefit a diverse set of workers. Two of the jobs created by the multiplier effect are professional jobs—doctors and lawyers—while the other three benefit workers in nonprofessional occupations—waiters and store clerks. Take Apple, for example. It employs 12,000 workers in Cupertino. Through the multiplier effect, however, the company generates more than 60,000 additional service jobs in the entire metropolitan area, of which 36,000 are unskilled and 24,000 are skilled. Incredibly, this means that the main effect of Apple on the region’s employment is on jobs outside of high tech.”

That last sentence is what’s grabbing headlines. Whether Moretti’s data holds up or not, it’s clear there’s plenty of ancillary benefits for cities that have a strong tech legacy. The differentiator gets down to which cities can market themselves and out-execute the others. Time to sharpen the sales deck.

[Disclosure: Austin Technology Council is a client.]
ATC Sharpens Austin’s Pitch, Targets Life Sciences

Austin Tech Happy Hour is Tomorrow (5/24)

Last change to pre-register and buy the cheap tickets to happy hour tomorrow. It’s $7.50 if you pre-register, $10 at the door, and we give everyone two drink tickets. We’ll be at Molotov from 6pm – 8pm with all your friends from the Austin tech scene, so please come on by and say hello!

Register Here.

This event wouldn’t be possible with the generous support of Hostway and the Austin Painpoint Job Fair.

Hostway Corporation is one of the world’s largest providers of managed, cloud, and hybrid hosting and email and applications – delivering scalable, customizable Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solutions to over 600,000 customers worldwide. We are committed to providing SMBs and large enterprises alike with enterprise-class business solutions at a cost-effective price. Hostway also boasts an award-winning partner program to help your business capitalize on the fast-growing cloud computing marketplace.With our flexible server configurations and consultative approach, we help you get an efficient, custom solution that grows with you.

Austin’s Painpoint Job Fair(Jun 29) is completely focused on only four software roles: Java, .NET, User Interface Design, and Quality Assurance. Candidates are being attracted locally, statewide, and nationally who want to move to Austin.  If your company is hiring one of more of these roles, you need to be there.  Visit us at the ATHH to learn about this job fair, and our quarterly Hiring Painpoint Survey that indicates employer’s highest priority software jobs in the major cities in Texas.

Austin Tech Happy Hour is Tomorrow (5/24)

Flash Valet Launches Mobile App

Every driver has wanted to drop their car off with the valet on a night out but couldn’t because they didn’t have any cash. And every business owner has wanted to know what the night’s business looked like in real time without waiting for a lengthy report to be produced the next day. Convenience for the customer and control for the business owner – this is what Flash Valet introduced today for the parking industry. If you live in Austin, you might have noticed your parking receipt, or the valet stand having the “Flash Valet” logo for the past several months. Today it officially launches in the iTunes App Store.

Flash Valet founders came up with the idea after a family member complained of a wait for her car that lasted longer than the business meeting she had at a hotel. With a strong background in technology and mobile payments, they knew they could create a product that improved the customer experience. But they quickly discovered it wasn’t just the customers that were negatively impacted by the paper-based industry. Parking providers were also struggling with costly hardware systems, managing cash-based revenue streams, and various other manual processes. And thus, Flash Valet was born. Others have offered costly equipment-based solutions to the industry, but none provide the ease of installation, implementation and use – and at a low monthly subscription cost – as does Flash Valet.

Flash Valet gives parking providers the freedom to operate away from cash registers and paper tickets by channeling communications and payment through something we have on us all the time–our mobile phones. Through Flash Valet’s cloud-based system, valet parking providers can track vehicles in real time to control and boost revenue, manage employees’ time and attendance (including integrated payroll reports), and offer mobile payment solutions (full list of features available here), all from one vendor. Valet business owners get real-time visibility into their business from any device running a browser.

“We saw an industry that could benefit from mobile technology, and knew its customers – all of us – would love the convenience. So we created Flash Valet to bring an industry that is mostly cash and paper-based into the mobile space,” said Juan Rodriguez, CEO of Flash Valet. “The app is easy to install, quick to set up, and gives business owners the ability to boost revenue and control their operations more closely. And for consumers, it’s VIP all the way.”

For consumers, Flash Valet puts an end to waiting outside or in a line to get the car out of valet. When you know you’ll be ready to go, simply text to alert the valet team and your car will be retrieved. You’ll receive a text back to let you know when your car is ready. Plus, no more scrambling to find enough cash to pay the valet – Flash Valet allows for mobile payments (including the tip) with a credit card or via PayPal.

Since it only requires a mobile phone and an app, installation and implementation of Flash Valet is quick and easy – no servers, hardware or multi-day installations needed. The mobility of the system means valet providers can manage the entire business from the curb, across town, or across the country. And every employee knows what is happening and what is needed at all times.

Flash Valet Launches Mobile App